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    Columbia Public Schools is the fifth-largest school district in Missouri. It includes 21 elementary schools, seven middle schools, four high schools and the Columbia Area Career Center, as well as an early childhood education program, with an enrollment of 19,052 students.

    The school district is accredited by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, citing such educational advantages as:

    • Columbia’s students excel in the classroom and in their post-secondary education careers.
    • Comprehensive curriculum and services at all grade levels, preschool and adult
    • Exceptional programs for at-risk students and students with special needs Extensive depth and breadth in middle school and high school course offerings
    • Award-winning career education programs designed for all students
    • Successful community partnerships and volunteer programs
    • Significant emphasis on staff development and school improvement efforts

    This fall, the District completed construction of a 126,431-square-foot 6700 student capacity middle school on 61 acres. 

    Columbia Public Schools is an urban, suburban, and rural school district covering 300 square miles. Over the last 16 years, the school district has seen a dramatic demographic shift. Sixteen years ago, 25 percent of our students participated in the free/reduced-price lunch program, and now nearly 50 percent participate (with seven schools participating in the CEP Program). Over the last six years, our school district has seen more than a 100 percent increase in English Learners (from 600 to 1,400) and 65 different languages being spoken. In the past, as part of being in a university town (Columbia is the home of the University of Missouri's flagship campus, Stephens College, and Columbia College), our English Learners were the children of visiting scholars. Now, they are children from Myanmar, the Democratic Republic of Congo, or the Middle East, coming from refugee camps in Thailand, Uganda, and Turkey. Additionally, more and more children are moving with their families to Columbia from St. Louis, Kansas City, Chicago, Milwaukee, and Memphis.

    2019 Student Enrollment Information Graphic

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    Nearly 85-90 percent of Columbia students extend their education beyond high school. Seventy-eight percent attend a college, university or post-secondary program. Student performance on the ACT and SAT exams exceed state and national averages. In 2019, 91 percent of graduates took the ACT. Additionally, of the 1,337 students taking advanced placement courses, more than 80 percent earned college credit. 

    2019 CPS Advanced Placement Information Graphic CPS ACT Composite Score Information for 2019 Graphic 2019 Graduate Follow Up Informatio Graphic



    CPS believes a successful school district focuses on the academic and co-curricular performance excellence of our students. Our district's teachers represent the primary reason Columbia's schools and students are so successful. More than 72 percent of teachers hold a master's degree or higher and an average of 12.5 years of professional experience. The community understands the importance of maintaining a high-quality educational program. Most recently, bond issues were passed in 1994, 1996, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2007, 2010, 2012, 2014, 2016 and 2020. A tax levy increase received voter approval in 1999, 2003, 2012, and 2016. View our Comprehensive School Improvement Plan (CSIP).